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Movie Reviews: Stand Up Guys, Amour, Hansel and Gretel and More

Movie reviews and movie times for theaters in the St. Louis, MO, area.

Editor's Note: Some reviews and information aggregated from Moviefone.

Stand Up Guys  

Mark Glass, Patch blogger: **½ It’s almost always a treat to watch old pros play to their strength in familiar waters. This crime drama with generous doses of humor and sentimentality serves up Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin in one last walk on the wild side. Pacino is fresh out of jail after 28 years for a robbery that went bad; partnerWalken kept in touch, and greets him at the gates. Arkin was their wheel man, now in a nursing home from end-stage emphysema, making one of the geezers a wheezer, too.

These guys were small timers, with little to show for their careers. Even worse, the Big Boss expects Walken to whack Pacino, because one of Al’s bullets killed the guy’s son in the battle that sent Al up the river. No credit for his long silence that kept the rest of them out of prison. The film covers a long day and night that may, or may not, be Al’s last. That’s time enough for  some hookers, boozing, burglary and bloodshed, along with covering a subplot, or two.

Walken and Pacino are the tough guys, with Arkin adding a different skill set to their criminal capabilities. They could have called the film Two and a Half Thugs. Whatever the premise, the trio sells the product nicely, and should please their legions of fans, as the actors and their characters live up to the title. Full Review

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Amour

  • Running time: 
  • Starring:
  • Rated: PG-13

Mark Glass, Patch blogger: ***½ This French drama about an elderly couple dealing with the wife’s end-stage deterioration has been earning acclaim around the globe for its stunning performances (John-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva), and sensitive treatment of an emotionally draining ordeal for the players and viewers by director Michael Haneke. The casting of these octogenarian spouses is not only effective cinematically, but interesting for pairing Trintignant, a major figure in European films for decades, with an actress with a much lower profile outside the EEC. Kudos to the Decider(s), since his turn caps a stellar career in fine style, and she garnered one of the film’s five Oscar nominations. (Amour was not screened or released locally in time for consideration in the St. Louis Film Critics’ 2012 voting.) 

In the early going and through flashbacks we see what a loving, cultured couple they were, with classical music at the core of their lives. That makes her descent into dementia seem like a particularly poignant loss to them, and to everyone they touched. As Trintignant struggles to tend to her needs, keeping her at home, rather than in the hands of strangers in strange environs, we feel both the loving devotion and the agonizing toll of the caretaking role he accepts.

The script’s unadorned view of their course should spark debates about the legitimacy of physician-assisted suicide, and inspire many to contemplate such possible futures, and make the tough decisions about their own living wills or other end-of-life directives. Amour is at once a celebration of, and cautionary tale about, the love underlying the lifetime commitments of those marriage vows. This exceptional film may not fit anyone’s definition of entertaining, but it undeniably nourishes our hearts and minds. Full Review

 

Bullet to the Head

The Hollywood Reporter: "Like the amped up comeback tour of two rockers who had their heyday sometime in the mid-'80s, Sylvester Stallone and director Walter Hill (48 HRS., The Warriors) join forces for a hard-hitting exercise in beefy, brainless fun with the New Orleans-set actioner Bullet to the Head." Full Review

 

Warm Bodies

New York Daily News: "Hoult's genuinely awkward charm and Palmer's tomboyish wholesomeness disarm an audience overfamiliar with this story. The two ably communicate the primitive and irrational feelings of falling in love." Full Review

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Mark Glass, Patch blogger: Of all the classic fairy tales stretched or twisted into feature films, this is one of the least likely...and less successful. H & G (Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton) survived the witch and her candy-coated honey trap of a hovel, then grew up to become itinerant witch slayers in a vaguely Medieval era. 

They are summoned to one imperiled hamlet after nearly a dozen children have been abducted. They soon realize that a coven or two of evildoers is apparently massing in the adjacent forbidding forest for some major event. So much for the plot. The rest is all about the f/x, as H & G do their thing with an arsenal of anachronistically advanced weapons, which they need because these witches show some mad Ninja skills to go with their magical powers. The fights are more fast and furious than the auto races in a certain series of flicks that traded on those terms. Full Review

Have you seen this movie? Write a review by posting a blog on Patch!

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Gangster Squad

  • Run Time: 113 mins.
  • Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin
  • Rated: R

Review from Patch blogger Mark Glass: Movie Review: Gangster Squad

Austin Chronicle: "Despite the unrelenting action and the terrific cast, Gangster Squad comes up more scattered than successful." Austin Chronicle. Full Review

A.O. Scott of The New York Times: "His (Fleischer) first feature, "Zombieland," was a half-witty genre parody. This one might be described as genre zombie-ism: the hysterical, brainless animation of dead clichés reduced to purposeless, compulsive killing. Too self-serious to succeed as pastiche, it has no reason for being beyond the parasitic urge to feed on the memories of other, better movies." Full Review

Ann Hornaday of Washington Post: "Slick, sick, self-consciously stylish and defiantly shallow, Gangster Squad is one of those movies you can't talk about without invoking other (often better) movies. A lot of movies." Full Review

Have you seen this movie? Write a review by posting a blog on Patch!

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